Barley, pearl barley – once food of the poor, today grain of increasing popularity – has been cultivated for a long time, since 7000 BC in Ethiopia and SE Asia. In comparison with wheat it is much more resilient to harsher climates, but it needs fertile soil, because its roots are rather weak in getting nutrients and water. Its chemical composition is comparable with other grains. In comparison with wheat it contains a bit less proteins and a bit more fats.

Its advantages and health benefits:

Pearl barley is also know as barley groat.

Barley contains large amounts of potassium, which is beneficial for the working of the nerve system, muscles and plays an important role in keeping a normal blood pressure level; Phosphorus, which is important for the health of our bones and teeth; and magnesium, which is one of the most important antioxidants. Barley is also a great source of B vitamins.

Did you know?

  • Barley has low glycemic index and is therefore appropriate for diabetics.
  • During cooking it will turn slimy, which is beneficial for gastric patients.
  • Most of the barley is used as fodder or as a resource for brewing beer and whiskey.
  • If roasted, barley can be used to make a barley coffee, the healthiest coffee substitute, because it does not contain caffeine.
  • In the northern parts of Europe bread is also made out of barley flour.
pearl barley

Culinary use:

In the kitchen barley is most often used pealed – pearl barley -, the main ingredient for a traditional Slovene dish called ričet.

It is an excellent substitute for rice in risotto, useful also as a side dish, for soups, stews and salads.


We usually store barley in a well closed container in a cool and dry space.